As a child, I was told that I was prone to seizures, but I never thought I would experience them as part of my day to day life. Everything changed, however, the first day of orientation during my freshman year at Wheaton College.
I spent the day like everyone else - moving into my dorm room, unpacking, saying goodbye to my mom and saying hello to the next chapter of my college life.
And then it happened. I was out with some new friends, eating pizza, when a piece got stuck in my throat. Seconds later, my right arm lost sensation. I started to lose consciousness. I screamed for help. I thought I was dying.
I was told my seizure lasted for a few minutes; I fell out of my chair and my body shook uncontrollably on the floor. EMS came immediately and rushed me to the hospital.
From that moment on, my life shifted. Suddenly it revolved around regular visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as frequent testing (MRIs and EEGs). I also had to try out different seizure medications to find the one that was the best fit for me.
In my college years, if anyone mentioned the word “epilepsy” or the word “seizure” I couldn’t tolerate it. I worried about my future. Would I graduate college? Would I get a job? Would I have friends?
Around this point in my journey, I met Dr. Devinsky from Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES). I have vivid memories of how I felt during my first appointment. I don’t remember much of what he said when we first met, but I definitely remember that I was crying hysterically. Dr. Devinsky has played an important role in my journey. Over time, he found a medication to adequately control my seizures. I am grateful beyond words.